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Security issue on app to app communication

 
Andres Delrotti
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Hello,

This is my problem. We have this website that is run on two web applications. The first web application hosts the home page and clicking certain links in the home page would forward it to pages of the second web application where certain functionalities can be done. Now, there has been an initiative to redesign the site to have a login page and only logged in users could browse it. This would mean a login page being created in the first app, and when links to the second application are clicked, the pages are supposed to forward to it with the same session of the user that logged in.

The planned implementation is:

App 1 calling App2 page: http://somehost/App2/app2servlet?user=encrypteduserinfo

App2 decrypting user field from request and placing it in its session.

Both App1 and App2 uses the same key for encryption/decryption of user info

I know this will work but is security enough? or is there a better way to do this?


Cheers,
Andres
 
Ulf Dittmer
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What do you mean by "enough security"? What kinds of attacks (and which attackers) are you trying to guard against?
 
Andres Delrotti
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From hackers who could possibly bypass the login and enter the site or from XSS attacks
 
Ulf Dittmer
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If by "enter the site" you mean via HTTP, I think that risk is small if you use the container's built-in authentication mechanism to secure the web apps (and use strong passwords as well as SSL where appropriate). Against an attacker gaining system-level access (possible even root access), most bets are off, but it doesn't sound like that's the kind of threat you're concerned about.

Information about how to guard against XSS (and other web app attacks) can be found ta http://www.coderanch.com/how-to/java/SecurityFaq#web-apps.
 
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